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Law enforcement authorities have credited the Chula Vista (Calif.) KOA’s staff for quick action in aggressively dousing a Dec. 6 fire in a torched motorhome in which a woman’s body was subsequently found.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that a local man has been charged with murder, arson and other offenses.
The campground’s landscaping staff noticed the flames coming from an RV and were able to put tens of thousands of gallons of water from the campground’s water supply onto the fire, putting it out before the fire department and police arrived.
Because of the fast action, officials were able to quickly identify the body in the bed at the back of the motorhome and more rapidly apprehend Larry W. Brown, who was arrested on Dec. 8 and arraigned Dec. 13 in his hospital bed in Hillcrest where he was being treated for injuries suffered during a police chase. He has pleaded not guilty to those charges.
Deputy District Attorney John Ristad told a judge that Brown, 42, and Vicki Jo Hunter, 52, moved into a motorhome at the Chula Vista campground in August.
On Dec. 5, Hunter left a message with a friend saying that Brown was becoming physically abusive with her and asked for the friend’s help, Ristad said.
At 3:45 p.m. on Dec. 6, a campground employee saw Brown drive away from the campground in Hunter’s car at a high rate of speed, Ristad said. Minutes later, another employee saw smoke coming from the motorhome, which was parked near the back of the 38-acre, 270-site park.
Brown was arrested on Dec. 8 after he led a California Highway Patrol officer on a half-hour chase on I-8 that covered 48 miles, reached speeds of up to 110 mph and ended when he crashed into an embankment near the U.S.-Mexican border checkpoint after U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents flattened the vehicle’s tires by laying a spike strip in the road.
A judge set Brown’s bail at $1.5 million. If convicted of the charges, Brown could be sent to prison for 33 years to life.